No decision on 3 controversial projects on Western Ghats yet: Goa CM

Panaji, Jul 28 (IANS): No final decision has been taken on the report of the Supreme Court's Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on three controversial projects in the eco-senstive Western Ghat region, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the Goa Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

Responding to questions from the opposition, including Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat, Sawant also said that the Goa government would file its reply to the contents of the CEC's report to the Supreme Court.

"The CEC has given its recommendations to the Supreme Court. Till now there is no final decision," the Chief Minister said.

Earlier, the Opposition had grilled the treasury benches over the damning findings in the CEC report related to the controversial rail, road and power projects in protected forests along the Goa and Karnataka state borders.

"The CEC has raised its objection to rail projects and Tamnar (power project). Tamnar (project) has been allowed on old (transmission) line. This is the CEC report to SC. The GoG will file its say in the SC," Sawant also said.

In its report submitted to the Supreme Court earlier this year, the CEC had questioned the South Western Railway's track doubling project from Castlerock railway station in Karnataka to Tinaighat railway station in Goa, saying there was no justification for the project.

It has also recommended a major re-alignment of the Goa Tamnar Transmission Project, an inter-state power transmission project, in order to reduce the possibilities of felling trees to make way for the 400 Kv line, while also suggesting an elevated corridors and creating of wide animal corridors along the NH-4 which is the process of being four-laned.

The Opposition, as well as civil society activists had demanded the scrapping of the three projects, claiming they were being powered through by the state and central governments at a huge environmental cost.

The three projects had been approved by the National Board of Wildlife's standing committee in April last year, which triggered a series of sustained protests in the coastal state.



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Title: No decision on 3 controversial projects on Western Ghats yet: Goa CM

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